12 zeros gone and Zimbabwe continues to struggle

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Zimbabwe, home to one of the seven wonders of the world Victoria Falls, is a country in turmoil recently in the news battling an inflation crisis.  The country just recently slashed 12 zeros from its currency to fight hyperinflation! Zimbabwe began as part of the British colony, Rhodesia.  From the 1930s to the 1960s, Black opposition to the colonial presence began to grow forming two African groups , the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) and the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU).   In 1965, Ian Smith, a British Rhodesian Front party man, signed the Unilateral Declaration of Independence which declared Rhodesia separate and independent from the U.K., which the U.K. would not fully recognize.  The Rhodesian Front party fought for white minority rule which further angered the Black majority.

The ZAPU and ZANU did not stand for this type of governance of their nation and began guerilla war tactics to fight back.  After much violence and negotiation, ZANU finally won British-supervised elections in 1980.  Robert Mugabe (ZANU) stepped into the role as prime minister with ZAPU leader Joshua Nkomo in his cabinet.  On April 18, 1980, Zimbabwe gained international recognition.

The celebration does not last long as Mugabe kicked Nkomo out of his cabinet on suspect of him trying to overthrow the government.  Guerilla warfare broke out yet again killing thousands in the country.  In an attempt to stop the deaths, Mugabe and  Nkomo reconciled and merged their parties to form Zanu-PF in 1987.

Zimbabwe continued in this manner until 1998 when the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) stepped in to urge action on the rising interest rates and inflation that began to occur in the country.  This crisis sparks support for the  ZCTU and further spurs the Movement for Democratic Change.  At this time, the World Bank and IMF, who provided aid for the people of Zimbabwe, suspended funding over disagreements in government policies and despite increasing economic hardships, companies closing, and national hunger, the World Bank had not yet returned providing aid in May 2009.

According to the World Bank, “[t]he lending program in Zimbabwe is inactive due to arrears. The Bank’s role here is now limited to technical assistance and analytical work focusing on macroeconomic policy, food security issues, social sector expenditures, social service delivery mechanisms and HIV/AIDS.”

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Until the right conditions are met in Zimbabwe, the World Bank cannot continue its lending program there and aid must be channeled through NGOs.  The World Bank also states “[r]e-engagement (a resumption of lending) with the unity government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai must be preceded by the government developing a credible economic development program, building consensus and support nationally for the program, demonstrating sustained progress in implementing reforms and clearing debt arrears to international financial institutions.”

With such an unsecure government, however, how can Zimbabwe develop the credible development program the World Bank requires in order to regain their support?  Zimbabwe has been struggling for years at stabilizing the country—will the World Bank’s hold on the lending program really give them the push they need to change?

Leading cause for decreased poverty in India in last 50 years: The World Bank

India is one of the poorest countries in the world.  Furthermore, it has one of the highest populations, and is growing at a particularly high rate.  Even though the country has had many major struggles, it is still growing at a fairly quick rate.  In fact, according to World Bank data, they grow on average of 5-7% annually in terms of GDP.  It is my belief that much of this growth is due to the efforts made by the World Bank and the International Development Association (IDA — the agency of the United Nations affiliated with the World Bank) in the past 50 years.  No doubt, India’s economy is much stronger and there is much less poverty than there would be, had it not been for the efforts of the world bank in the last 50 years. Continue reading

Transforming the Georgian Boonies into Places of New Age Technology

Over the past 14 years, the impact agriculture has on Georgia’s GDP  has gone down from 65.86% to 13.72%.  In Georgia the percent of Agriculture generating GDP was above that of Lower, middle income nations; however, in 2006 it went below, and continues to fall.  Georgia’s strength in agriculture declined as Georgia gained its independence and under went a civil war.  Prior to this time, Georgia exported in agricultural products to the Soviet Union, but that connection was lost in 1991.  According to World Bank, “Outputs fell by 70% and exports by 90%, the worst decline suffered by any transition economy.”

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